First year teachers Nia Tsoulos and Harris Dibek shared an incredible senior year at Conant High School. Back in 2018, both captained their respective girls’ and boys’ water polo teams and they went on to win the sectional title. Four years later, the two are back at Conant, teaching and coaching water polo. It’s no coincidence.
“Having a Conant sweep our senior year was a special feat that not many programs or players get to experience,” Dibek says. “My team would go on to finish 4th in state, which would be the highest finish in program and conference history, on the men’s side, so that was significant in a record sense.”
Tsoulos, too, remembers all the excitement surrounding their polo seasons, but she puts her high school experience this way, as she reflects on just what brought her back: “The teachers, coaches and other adults in the building at Conant were people I always looked up to and aspired to be one day. As a teacher, I strive to mirror that for my students.”
Harris now teaches several sections of Algebra 1 to freshmen and Tsoulos teaches Astronomy, Physical Science and Biology. Next spring, Harris will be the boys’ assistant water polo coach at Conant, while Tsoulos will be an assistant coach at rival Fremd High School. Either way, both say the lessons learned on the team have stayed with them.
“I remember telling my teammates sophomore year that if we stick together and keep our core intact, we can get a top four finish at state,” Harris says. “So being able to keep that promise through getting everyone to buy in and become dedicated meant the world to me. It also has influenced my coaching philosophy tremendously.”
While both new teachers say their return has been a bit of a transition, they are finding it, well, priceless.
“It has been a really eye opening experience to see all the effort and time my teachers put into their lessons,” Tsoulos adds. “But being able to give back to a community who supported me and inspired me consistently for four years has been super rewarding.”